The Business Motivation Model

Preparing a Resilient Business Plan

The Business Motivation Model - Preparing a Resilient Business Plan

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Identify all the different elements of your business plan.

Have you ever had to develop a business plan for your organization or for a new business?

If you have, then you know how difficult it can be to get it right. There are many different elements to consider, and it can be easy to overlook factors that may have a positive or negative effect on your success.

This is where it can be helpful to use the Business Motivation Model. This tool offers a practical way of sense-checking and optimizing your plan. By using it, you can develop a resilient business plan – one where you've explored the impact of internal and external influencers, and have adjusted the plan appropriately.

In this article, we'll look at what the Business Motivation Model is, and we'll explore how you can use it to improve business planning.

About the Model

The Business Motivation Model was originally developed by the Business Rules Group, a non-commercial consulting firm, in the late 1990s. Its goal was to help people prepare business plans in an ordered, efficient, properly-organized way.

Put simply, the Business Motivation Model helps you think about why you're creating a business plan, identify the essential elements that you need to include, and understand how all of these factors interact with one another. This helps you ensure that your business plan is robust and internally consistent, that it fairly explores the impact of the plan, and that it takes your business in a direction that is useful and valuable.

The model is not only useful for writing traditional business plans – you can also use it to plan projects and new processes.


The name of this model, "The Business Motivation Model," is not particularly helpful. Don't worry too much about this.

There are four main elements to the model:

  1. Ends: This is what you want to accomplish with your plan. "Ends" consist of a Vision, Goals, and Objectives. (These are defined in a slightly differently way from the vision, goals, and objectives that we describe elsewhere within Mind Tools – more on this later!)
  2. Means: These describe how you're going to achieve the Ends. They include your mission, your overall strategy, and the organizational policies and rules that will affect the achievement of your Ends.
  3. Influencers: This is where you assess the people or things, inside or outside your organization, that can affect your Ends or Means.
  4. Assessment: This is where you assess your Influencers, and then review and adjust your Ends and Means as necessary.

As you can see in figure 1, below, the model isn't linear – once you've analyzed and assessed Influencers, you review your Ends and Means, and update them until all elements are consistent and well-aligned.

Figure 1 – The Business Motivation Model

The Business Motivation Model

We'll now look into each element in more detail.

1. Ends

This is where you identify your final, desired result. You can start at this stage, but you'll probably find it more effective to work on your Ends and Means at the same time.


Begin by writing a vision statement. This is a human- or idea-centered statement that expresses what the organization wants to do or become in the long-term. Our article on Mission Statements and Vision Statements explores how to create powerful vision statements.


In this model, creating a mission statement comes under the Means, but it's often more effective to create mission and vision statements at the same time.

Goals and Objectives

You then need to set the Goals and Objectives that will help you achieve your vision.

In the Business Motivation Model, a Goal is long-term, qualitative (rather than quantitative), general (rather than specific), and ongoing. For example, "Answer telephone calls more quickly," or "Offer a friendly service to customers."

You must continually satisfy your goals in order to reach your Vision.

Objectives, on the other hand, need to be attainable, measurable, and time-based. For example, "By June 2014, we will answer 90 percent of telephone calls within 30 seconds," or "Within two years, we will achieve an average score of at least 85 percent on customer satisfaction surveys."

When achieved, these objectives will then help you reach your Goals.

2. Means

The Means is the "how" of the model – how are you going to achieve the Ends you've identified?

Your Mission

To begin identifying your Means, write a mission statement. The purpose of this is to identify what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis to achieve your Ends.

The model says that your mission statement should contain at least these three elements:

  1. An action part. For instance, "supply."
  2. A product or service part. For instance, "help-desk support."
  3. A market or customer part. For instance, "customers across North America."

For example, your mission could be "To provide IT help-desk support by telephone to customers in Canada and The United States."


You then need to develop and identify a Strategy for achieving your Ends.

Don't skimp on strategy development – this is an extremely important process, and is key to the long-term success of your plan. (Our article on Developing Your
looks in-depth at identifying, and then selecting, strategic options.)


At this stage, you'll also need to identify Directives. These are rules or organizational policies that will directly affect what you want to achieve.

For example, your organization may have a set budget for marketing that will affect how you build awareness for your brand, or your organization may only supply products to retailers within a 50-mile radius of its showroom. These would both affect your ability to compete in certain areas.

Remember that Directives can have a positive, as well as negative, effect on your overall plan.

3. Influencers

Here, you need to identify and assess your Influencers. These are people and factors that can affect your Means and End. They can be both internal and external to your organization.

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Internal influencers can include:

  • Resources.
  • Infrastructure.
  • Organizational values.
  • Shareholders.
  • Staff.
  • Organizational culture.

External influencers can include:

  • Technology.
  • Customers.
  • Business environment.
  • Suppliers.
  • Competitors.
  • Media, and the wider community.
  • Industry regulations.
  • Government policies.
  • Commonly-held assumptions.

To identify Influencers effectively, use PEST Analysis (to identify external factors) and Stakeholder Analysis (to identify the people who can affect your organization's success).

4. Assessment

Once you've created your list of Influencers, you then need to assess each one. Here, you look at each of your Influencers, and identify how they're going to impact your Ends and Means.

One way of doing this is to use SWOT Analysis – list each Influencer, then ask yourself whether they present a strength, weakness, opportunity, or threat to your Ends or Means. Then, identify the potential impact of Influencers that present a weakness or threat. (This can initially sound like a strange use of SWOT Analysis, but it's surprisingly effective.)

Tools such as Impact Analysis and Risk Analysis are great for helping you understand threats in more detail.

Once you've assessed each of your Influencers, review your Ends and Means, and update if appropriate.


Bear in mind that you may need to go through each element of the model several times, because any changes to one element will likely affect others. For instance, if you update your Ends, this will have a knock-on effect on your Means, and, possibly, your Influencers.

Key Points

The Business Motivation Model helps you sense-check why you're creating a business plan, which elements you need to include, and how all of the factors within the plan relate to one another.

By using it, and by iteratively adjusting the plan to take account of the influences upon it, you can develop a more robust, resilient plan for your business – one that delivers the benefits that you want with a minimum of "unexpected" consequences.

There are four main elements to the Business Motivation Model:

  1. Ends.
  2. Means.
  3. Influencers.
  4. Assessment.

Begin by identifying the Ends (your desired, end result) and your Means (how you're going to achieve this result).

Then, identify Influencers; these are any people or any things that could have an effect on your Means and Ends.

Last, you conduct an Assessment; this is where you judge your Influencers to determine what kind of impact they'll have on your Means and Ends. From there, you can review your Ends and Means, and update as required. Remember that you may need to work through each element several times.